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Rocky Mountain Audiofest - Denver CO - Oct 12-14th 2012 - Page 5  

post #61 of 153
Originally Posted by arnaud View Post

HPA, so is that you taking a self portrait with the fashionable white plastic piece of junk phones? I thought it was pretty funny ;)


Nope.  Them was Diamond Tears by Monster - clear not white.

post #62 of 153


Nice work Larry.  Looks like you singlehandedly covered the entire show this year!


Does the CLAS -db computer USB DAC functionality work with Windows-based machines, or only with Apple hardware?


Also, what's the story with the Freqphase Waveguide? Is that an add-on that you use in place of the JH-3A? Or is it in addition to the JH-3A? There's nothing on the JHAudio website about it.

Thanks for your continued contribution to Head-Fi!

post #63 of 153
Originally Posted by sridhar3 View Post


Nice work Larry.  Looks like you singlehandedly covered the entire show this year!


Does the CLAS -db computer USB DAC functionality work with Windows-based machines, or only with Apple hardware?


Also, what's the story with the Freqphase Waveguide? Is that an add-on that you use in place of the JH-3A? Or is it in addition to the JH-3A? There's nothing on the JHAudio website about it.

Thanks for your continued contribution to Head-Fi!


The CLAS -dB has one mini USB that works with Apple and PC computers with a normal mini USB cable, and they have a small 3" pigtail adapter to plug an iPhone sync cable into it as well.


The Freqphase Waveguide is a new design of the internal sound tubes and driver placement, which reduces phase alignment issues to a minimum, and it's only offered in the new JH13Pro, JH16Pro or JH3A.  It's not a retrofit for older IEM unless yours were broken and they had to open them up to repair them. I can scan the fact sheet and post it here tonight.

post #64 of 153

Thanks for the updated impressions and pics - you're looking well in those bling headphones. smily_headphones1.gif


Best wishes to you,


post #65 of 153


post #66 of 153

























































post #67 of 153

Great pix HA...can't believe the Audeze closed were just "thrown on the couch" like that! I like your impressions of the M-100, Momentums, & MDR-1R's. I've got those with me right now and great to hear other thoughts on them.

post #68 of 153

Just want to say this was a great show.  It's not a "meet" anymore, but that's ok.  The room was filled with great gear and great vendors.  Thanks to Jude and all the vendors for their time and effort.  And thanks to Todd the Vinyl Junkie for a great beer social.  I got to do a lot more listening this year than I have at any recent show/meet, which was a lot of fun.  A really nice time overall.  And again, a big thanks to the organizers and participating vendors.

post #69 of 153

Three days of RMAF awesomeness and this is all we have so far for impressions?  Am I the only one who is chomping at the bit for more descriptions of all the new toys on display?  In particular, I'd love to hear more about the M-100, Amperior, Momentum, closed-back Audeze, and the -dB!


HA, thanks for your impressions.  I posted some thoughts in reply to your description of the Cypher Labs -dB here.  Basically, I see it as a very positive development that the -dB has a lowered output level compared to the CLAS.

post #70 of 153

A quick review from an RMAF attendee who is not really a headphone-oriented guy, although I do have some decent choices for use with my iPhone (B&W P5 and Monster Turbine Copper).


On Saturday at around 5, when I'd had enough of listening to megabuck audio systems play audiophile music too loud, I decided to head down to CanJam for a change of pace, and to see that all-too-rare-at-RMAF cross-section of equipment that a regular Joe can both enjoy and afford.  It is a major distinction between CanJam and the rest of RMAF - the most expensive headphone on display was the Stax 009 $5K - I think I heard maybe 5 pairs of speakers under that price at the show.


Not having really auditioned top-end headphones seriously ever before, let alone auditioned different amps, it was a lot of fun to try out the best of the best.  Being more of a stereo guy, I gravitated towards equipment that more accurately replicates the tonality of a full-scale hifi system, more than equipment that matches it from a detail and soundstage perspective - in part because tonality is #1 with me, and in part because I guess that spaciality, detail and imaging really are the domain of the full-sized home stereo.


Some things that stood out from the experience:


-Showing up at 5 pm on Saturday was perfect - after an hour or so of listening, the TTVJ social (that I was completely unaware of) started - that was some tasty brew that made an excellent accompaniment to the listening sessions!

-Those Audeze headphones really get it right.  I had a ton of fun listening to them, and thought they did some things more "right" than the $50K Wilson speakers I had heard upstairs.  The bottom end was deep, tight, and unaffected by room resonances - so always sounded just right.  The midrange was equally enjoyable given a dearth of room-related problems.  These are really top-end headphones that I preferred consistently to others (HD-800's, Beyerdynamic, HiFi Man, and others that I don't really remember).  And I felt like I was really hearing them at their best, which can't be said for many hi-end speakers in small hotel rooms.

-I had a bit of trouble picking out the advantages of the LCD-3 over the LCD-2 in the circumstances, due to the huge variety of amps and source material around.  But both seemed to be more to my liking than other headphones I tried, every time I put them on.

-The Burson Conductor sounded great - but strangely, when using its DAC outputs to the Soloist's input, the sound degraded significantly, even though it should be the same (same DAC, same amp) - so either there's some problems with the RCA sockets or the RCA cables result in major sonic degradation.  The Neil Young 24/96 demo track they played sounded fantastic on the Audeze headphones, less good on the other ones (Beyerdynamic I think?), and that difference was bigger than the difference between Conductor alone and Conductor-->soloist.

-That little Centrance M8 sounded excellent to my ears - a bit of a smaller soundstage than the Burson or Woo options I tried, but excellent for a small battery-powered amp.

-Not knowing what were the new must-see items, I didn't pay much attention to the closed Audeze nor the Woo W7.  Oops!

-The giant Alo DAC with a small army of tubes and 4 headphone inputs sounded very good to me, but it looks like it'll be a niche product - I don't need 4 headphone inputs...

-The Woo 22 sounded fantastic with Audeze headphones (2 or 3?).

-Strangely perhaps, the worst sound that I heard from the Audeze phones was with their own Red Wine Audio amp and the Meridian CDP.  Given the price of the combo, I was scratching my head as to why I didn't like it - but different strokes for different folks I guess.

-I'm usually a tube guy, but thought that the Schitt solid-state $750 amp was absolutely fantastic and much, much better than their tube options.

-The Stax 009 with the $8K Woo amp sounded incredible - but then, at that price, it better sound incredible!  My favorite lower-cost amp-speakers in the regular RMAF rooms (Devore Orangutans with Line Magnetic's 845-based SET integrated amp) costs less than the Stax/Woo setup.


As a result of this experience, I'll probably at some point get into the whole high-end headphone thing - I have seen the light.  I already have an excellent USB DAC that I use in my hi-fi system, so will likely pick up a pair of Audeze headphones and an (as yet undecided) amp at some point.  The search (and saving) begins!

post #71 of 153

Hi all — Mike here with UE. Just wanted to thank everyone for coming out and having a great time and I especially wanted to thank Jude and all the organizers. This wouldn't exist without you!  Always a pleasure to be part of this.


Also - I'm not sure if there is an "official" posting of Jude's "In Your Head - Literally" panel discussion on in-ears but Audio-Head posted something along with some great clips with vendors.  Looks like the first couple of minutes were clipped. Probably due to bad sound and feedback (at an audio conference at that;) Many thanks to Jerry for dialing in the board.)



@Tyll, Now, Karl, Jerry, & Chris — it was an honor to sit up there with you all.


Many thanks,



Edited by Mike Dias - 10/16/12 at 12:20pm
post #72 of 153

@ Mike, your UERM are fantastic, but then you didn't need me to tell you this. :-) 




Tons of folk going around doing interviews - here is one of Alex Cavalli 


post #73 of 153

Gear Impressions

I'll echo the thanks to Larry the reliable HeadphoneAddict for listening to a lot more gear than I did, because I just didn't have much motivation to go around and hear everything in the room. There was too much gear for that without everything turning into a fuzzy memory in my head.

And I'm just going to put this bluntly for the folks asking for impressions: no offense, but there really weren't that many Head-Fiers at the show, and the ones who were didn't exactly go around the room reporter-style to get coverage for Head-Fiers to read. So don't be discouraged if HPA and I are the only ones who provide any sort of extensive impressions to read. It was a huge room packed with vendors that would've needed at least 3 more reliable Head-Fiers (if not more) to cover everything in the room that most folks would want to know about.

The only thing I can recommend for folks who want to know about the rest of the gear at the show is to wait for the coverage from Tyll at InnerFidelity, and to get out to a show like this (or meet) for yourself. As much as I recommend attending RMAF, it's not the only place where headphones can be heard - local meets regularly happen arond the world, just check the Meets forum to see if one is coming up in your area, or even better organize one!

Finally, the pace at a show like this is so chaotic that it's next to impossible for anyone to do a direct X/Y product comparison without ambient noise or other people interfering, and even then, the only comparisons that can really be made are headphones vs other headphones, not amps or DACs. Simply for that reason, I purposely skipped over most amp or DAC vendors, because there was no way I was going to get anything useful out of a demo. For example, I skipped over the Schiit gear on purpose - not that I was disinterested in their gear, because I was actually highly interested, but more because there was no way I was going to get anything useful in a noisy room with an unfamiliar DAC and amp. In order to be fair to the Schiit gear, I'd have to get it in my home where it's quiet and I can concentrate.

This isn't all of my impressions btw and more will be posted later, along with pics.

V-Moda M-100: I've been reading the hype-train thread on these headphones in the Portable Headphones forum, and these have caught my eye ever since they were announced. I previously owned the M-80 and wrote a mini-review of it (can be found here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/587296/mini-review-v-moda-m-80-vs-audio-technica-es7).

So I'll cut to the chase: these were awesome, easily one of the best-value closed headphones I've ever heard, which is a lot! I heard the M-100 on 3 setups: at the V-Moda table (sourced out of an iPhone & dock, I think), out of my own MP3 player (iAudio X5), and over at the Moon Audio table, sourced by the Stello CDT100 CDP & Fostex HP-A8 amp. Granted, I thought it was a little less awesome on my MP3 player, so I suspect the M-100 probably needs at least a little amp power to sound good, more than directly out of a DAP's headphone jack.

Honestly I could definitely nitpick if I wanted to, because sonically it wasn't a complete hit for me, but that would probably give the wrong impression. For $300, the M-100 is a great, fantastic headphone, and practically the "best in show" in the room! They're a definite must-buy and I'll almost definitely be buying a pair myself when they come out! They had good clarity, strong deep bass, and a very good assertive sound that really worked well for electronica, metal, and pop/rock, yet still were balanced enough for some classical music too. It's hard to find a great-sounding closed headphone, especially under $500 because so many are just not very good, but the M-100 took the cake. I loved it and I can't think of a good reason for anyone else to not buy it.

Fostex TH900: I listened to Moon Audio's pair of these, from the same Stello CDT100 & Fostex HP-A8 setup as the M-100, so I actually went back and forth between the TH900 and M-100 quite a few times on various CD tracks.

Although the M-100 became my new favorite budget closed headphone, I have to hand out an even bigger award to the TH900, because these blew my mind!

I refused to believe the hype train on these headphones at first, but now I'm a convert, because they were some of the best dynamic headphones that I've ever heard, seriously. And the fact that they're closed is just icing on the cake, because most of the dynamic flagships are open designs. Though they didn't isolate that much, they didn't seem to leak much either, which was nice.

How to describe the sound of the TH900? I'd call it a close dynamic equivalent of the Stax SR-007A (OII MKI). I swore it got closer to the OII MKI than any other headphone that I've heard, and there were times it sounded spookily like the OII. Very natural-sounding, very balanced, and very "smooth", with very nice deep bass, enough that it actually satisfied for electronica. They did extremely well with just about every genre I threw at them from metal to jazz, classical to electronica, bluegrass to rock - so well that I couldn't believe it. I'm especially critical with classical music, but these handled the sound of a violin nearly perfectly, almost as well as the OII! They were literally like a dynamic OII to me - with nearly the same level of finesse for classical & jazz, yet perfectly capable of rocking out a bit to death and power metal (In Flames & Helloween).

The TH900 is my new favorite pair of high-end closed headphones! I'm now compelled to buy one for myself as part of my dynamic system, and I think if I'd never heard the OII/BHSE, it could easily be my final system too! In fact, one need not bother with a high-end electrostatic system with the TH900 - it's really almost as good, for less! What's not to like? And they were extremely comfortable to wear too, with very supple earpads. It was like wearing [censored] on my ears!

Denon AH-D7100: Moon Audio had these headphones at their table too, so I checked them out on the Stello/Fostex gear. Let's just say that these were vastly underwhelming after the TH900, and if anyone asked me to put a price on them based on the sound, I'd say $500 tops! The $1.2K MSRP is outrageous for something that was so tonally weird, it actually reminded me of Audio-Technica woodies. The bass was also extremely muddy & uncontrolled - my standard battery of electronica overloaded its bass response so much, it was ludicrous. It also enhanced nasal/reedy characteristics, and the treble - well, it sucked. It was rolled off way too much. I can't believe Denon thinks a $1.2K headphone can get away with this kind of sound, it was that pathetic.

If we ignore the price, I'd put the D7100 in my below-average ranking, which usually includes <$300 headphones! Heck, my average ranking includes the K70x and HD600/HD650, which I think are better-sounding!

And my criticisms don't end with the sound. This headphone had next to no swivel either, so it fit very loosely.

Sony MDR-1R: I admit, I snuck these away from Jude when he wasn't looking! (They were his pair that he brought.) They were pretty good - fairly well balanced with solid bass, which I always look for in closed headphones. Good clarity, etc. I listened to them mostly on my MP3 player, which I had to turn up the volume for a lot, so they clearly weren't that efficient and would probably benefit from a real amp. I also briefly tested them on the HeadAmp Pico Power, which went better for them.

Interesting headphones but I'd need another listening session to really comment further, as they sorta got lost in my memory with all of the other headphones that I heard.

Ultimate Ears UERM & UE18: As an owner of the JH13, I don't need another custom IEM unless it breaks (or gets lost, or whatever else), but I checked out the UERM anyway since I've read good things about it. And the UERM sounded awesome on my MP3 player - maybe more awesome than the JH13? I wasn't sure if it was more neutral, but I will say that it sounded a lot like the JH13 with maybe more clarity, though I couldn't tell for sure.

The UE18 clearly had a different sound signature with more bass impact and maybe more aggressive treble. Might be fun for certain types of music but it wasn't really for me.

MrSpeakers Mad Dog (modded Fostex T50RP): I first heard about "MrSpeakers" headphones from the guest list of this year's LAX summer meet (which I didn't attend but almost did) and have been moderately interested in hearing a modded pair of the Fostex T50RP (which I've also read a lot about). His "Mad Dog" headphones were pretty good overall - very good clarity, solid bass, good treble. However, these were the first headphones I really sat down to listen to at the show, and I never got around to listening again after I heard the M-100 and TH900 to put them in perspective. They did seem to be good bang for buck, but as for a comparison vs the M-100, I can't offer anything on sound. They were physically larger than the M-100 though, so less ideal for travelers or commuters, but probably good for home/office.

HeadAmp - Pico Power & SR-007/BHSE/BDP-95: I never really gave the Pico Power a formal listening test, but as a HeadAmp fan & loyal customer, I can say that it had excellent build quality and was heavier than it looked (I thought it'd be more light-weight than it was). I did use it a couple of times during RMAF to test out other headphones not at HeadAmp's table because I know HeadAmp's products to typically have transparent signatures. Though not really interested in portable-type amps myself, I'm sure it's a great amp for those who want something small.

And in the days leading up to RMAF, I listened to my BHSE w/ KT77s a lot to get familiar with it, so I could find out how the Oppo BDP-95 stacked up against my Plinius CD-101 (and decide if I ever want to get it as a back-up CDP). The OII/BHSE still sounded great on the BDP-95, but it was clear that it just wasn't as awesome as my Plinius. Though this sounds vague, it just had "soft edges" and lacked sharpness and a tight, accelerated drive. It seemed a bit lifeless in comparison. Still very good, but just not very "hi-fi-ish" compared to what I'm used to.

Sennheiser HD700: I checked these out at the Senn table (where they were amped by the HDVA 600) to confirm my impressions from the THE Show Newport Beach earlier this year, and it was clear that they were still average-sounding. Nothing about them made them stand out in the sea of headphones at the show - they lacked bass & treble power and clarity, and there was really nothing particularly noteworthy about the mid-range. IMO the $1K price is excessive and for less money I'd recommend the Shure SRH1840 instead, or even the classic HD600.

Shure SRH1440: I previously owned the SRH1840, so I had to know how these were different, except they didn't really seem that different on an informal listening session. If they had more mid-range, I didn't really notice. Like the SRH1840 though, they lacked low bass quantity and were rolled off, so not really ideal for electronica for me. I guess it's probably a decent inexpensive versatile headphone though.

Audeze LCD-3: With the sheer number of LCD-3s at the show, I checked out multiple pairs at different vendors' tables to find out if their amps would transform the LCD-3 for me. None of them did. Not that I think the LCD-3 is bad, but for me it's really not that awesome. Though I class it as "above average", there are just too many issues that I have with it, not the least of which is its insufferable lack of clarity and overbearing clamping pressure.

For nearly the same price as the LCD-3, I'd much rather own the Fostex TH900, which I thought was vastly superior.

Edited by Asr - 10/21/12 at 1:37am
post #74 of 153
Asr, nice report (looking forward to your sr009 as well although you sound angry wink.gif ). Small typo I believe: SR-007A is the Japanese market denomination for the Omega 2 mk2 (silver frame, black earpads and cable, ported version). I think you may have meant the mk1 version so I thought this should be clarified...
post #75 of 153

@ asr


thanks for the impressions on the Fostex TH900. i have been very intrigued by these headphones for classical. also a bonus that they are closed. too bad, all the new "high-end" headphones have price tags in the 2k range. otherwise, i would already own a pair.

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Meets, Get-Togethers, Factory Tours › Head-Fi Meet Impressions, Trade Show Reports, Factory Tours › Rocky Mountain Audiofest - Denver CO - Oct 12-14th 2012